Best Practices

Practice Instructions
Know the Client Objectives Cold You can eliminate much of the stress by knowing all of the client objectives before you set foot on the property. This way if unplanned events occur, you can naturally and seamlessly adjust. Make sure that your guest is aware of the client objectives as well.
Know the Checklist Cold Print the entire checklist for each evaluation before you go. It is important to know the client objectives.
Take ‘Fanatical’ Notes The best evaluators have one thing in common, they take fabulous notes. Note taking immediately after the interaction is vital. The key things to get down on paper are:

  • Names and descriptions of staff members
  • Opening and closing quotes
  • Key points of the interaction in the order that they occur, including time stamps

These are things that you will never be able to remember later, and they will help you remember the smaller details of the interaction.

Develop a ‘Role’ Evaluating is a little like acting in a play whose performance lasts the duration of the visit.
Remain Passively Interactive The most talented evaluators have mastered the skill of remaining passively interactive.  It is important that evaluators allow staff members to demonstrate their performance in each area of service. An evaluator needs to be careful not to preempt opportunities for the staff to initiate a greeting or sales opportunity. Providing these opportunities is an important part of making the evaluation as thorough as possible.

  • If you walk right up to the host podium and immediately begin with, “Hi, reservation for [last name],” there is no chance to see if the host initiates a greeting.
  • If you immediately order a specific wine for dinner or proactively request dessert, there is no opportunity for the server to demonstrate their knowledge of the menu or promote a dessert sale.

It is also critical not to be conspicuous when providing these opportunities.

  • Allowing a host an opportunity to initiate a greeting does not entail standing in silence for an extended period waiting for that to happen.
  • Upselling opportunities should not be created with pregnant pauses in an otherwise smooth dialog.
  • Opportunities for proactive coat check assistance should not entail conspicuously slinging a coat or bag over one’s arm.

The purpose of the observation is to note if these actions take place in a typical experience. Leading the staff into the action weakens the observation as much as a preemption of the action.

Record Keeping It is time consuming to have to manage documents and receipts if you are constantly looking for things.  A common practice is to bring two large manila envelopes. Use one to keep client objectives and use the other to keep receipts and completed worksheets.
Guests Having a good partner with you can be an asset. They can also be a useless liability. You could perform the primary interaction and your guest can assist by observing passively, or you could have them perform the interaction while you observe. That way, one of you can concentrate on natural role playing while the other soaks up the details.
Phone Interactions Have your note pad or worksheet ready before you dial. Without a visual reference it can be difficult to remember greetings, names, and the important details that come at you fast and furiously.
Cell Phones If you leave the area immediately after an interaction, one option is to leave yourself a voicemail. Remember to record the time, staff member names/descriptions, opening/closing quotes, and key points of the interaction.
Getting ‘Made’ Every evaluator feels at one time or another that they have been discovered by the staff. This is natural. Keep your cool, be low key, and continue to complete the client objectives.
Work as You Go A good practice to develop is to type the narrative for the interaction right away. Each interaction takes just a few minutes, and then it is done. If you wait and report several interactions at once, the amount of work can feel overwhelming.
Review and Complete Your Checklist Before each evaluation, review the checklist and the client objectives. Afterwards be sure to fill out the checklist prior to typing the review. This way, you will have it filled out, and you will have a specific guideline of the client objectives along with the interaction narrative.